ABUJA – The Federal Government has received 82 million dollars loan facility from the Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA) to boost its polio eradication programme.
The Minister of Information, Mr Laban Maku, made this known when he briefed newsmen after the Federal Executive Council meeting presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja on Wednesday.
Maku said the concessionary facility was given by JICA at an annual interest rate of 0.2 per cent.
He said that loan was secured with the support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation working in partnership with the Ministries of Finance and Health.
He said; “Nigeria is one of the countries recognised as endemic in terms of the incidence of polio.
“But statistics given to us today as we discussed this facility show that between 2012 and 2013, the incidence of new cases has come down by slightly over 50 per cent.
“In 2012, about 121 cases were reported. In 2013, the report showed that we had only 50 cases. This shows clearly that polio is coming down.
“It is expected that if we are able to meet the target in the next five years, it is quite possible that Bill and Melinda Gates will take off the repayment of this loan to the Japanese,’’ Maku said.
He said that the Minister of Health, Dr Onyeabuchi Chukwu, had assured the council that everything was on ground to ensure the successful implementation of polio eradication programme in Nigeria.
Maku also said the council was briefed by the Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on the progress made in the mortgage sector within the last six months.
According to him, Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company floated in January will soon begin the provision of affordable houses to Nigerians.
“The company is about to advertise, it will take 10,000 entries to begin with and subsequently it will expand as the company consolidates its financial base and institutional capacity.
“This shows that the mortgage industry in Nigeria is going to develop very fast and it has a high potential for job and wealth creation.
“To provide houses for 167 million Nigerians is a huge industry and this is one area where a lot of jobs are created and wealth generated in the economy.
“Whenever you are building a house, you find out that from masons to bricklayers and carpenters, in fact a lot jobs are created in every housing project,’’ he said. (NAN)